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The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU),. Abbreviated in Russian as КПСС or ''KPSS''. at some points known as the Russian Communist Party or All-Union Communist Party and sometimes referred to as the Soviet Communist Party (SCP), was the founding and ruling
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. The CPSU was the sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 1990 when the Congress of People's Deputies modified Article 6 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution, which had previously granted the CPSU a monopoly over the political system. The party has its roots in the
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP; , ''Rossiyskaya sotsial-demokraticheskaya rabochaya partiya (RSDRP)''), also known as the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or the Russian Social Democratic Party, was a socialist ...
. The RSDLP was founded in 1898, when
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
was ruled by an
absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme autocracy, autocratic authority, principally not being restricted by written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monar ...
. The broad anti-Tsarist ideology was the driving factor in its initial growth. Russians across the political spectrum flocked the party, as
Marxists Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies socia ...
, socialists, and centrists made up its ranks. Despite the Tsar's harsh oppression including imprisoning and even executing party members, the RSDLP continued to grow albeit underground. Initially the party operated in a unified and cohesive manner, but by 1900 cracks within party unity began to show.
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government The head of government is e ...

Vladimir Lenin
, one of the leading Marxists, engaged in fierce debates with others over revolutionary tactic and theory. Lenin believed that the party, lead by a small committee, should be the vehicle that mobilizes the
working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via waged or salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation of workers by collar colorCo ...

working class
to carry out a
socialist revolution Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowle ...
and oust the Tsar. These radical views were initially unpopular and further ostracized him in the RSDLP. Lenin's opponents, who had a majority in the party leadership refused to entertain his ideology and denied him a clear path to power. Realizing he had no ability to push forward his agenda Lenin and his supporters created a schism in the party in 1903. Lenin's new faction now called the Bolsheviks (majority) espoused Lenin's interpretation of Marx and held his similar radical views. The schism also produce the more moderate
Mensheviks The Mensheviks (russian: меньшевики́), also known as the Minority were one of the three dominant factions in the Russian socialist Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosop ...
(minority) faction. In 1917 following the abdication of the Tsar and failure of the Provisional Government to exit
WWI World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), conve ...

WWI
, the Bolsheviks seized power in the
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October Revolution
. Now operating as a government, the Bolsheviks underwent a name change and were referred to as the Communist Party the following year. Russia, now divided between the communists and the anti-communists engaged in a bloody civil war which concluded with a Bolshevik victory. The civil war also saw the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and the Communists which founded the Soviet Union then became the sole legal party which it would remain for 74 years. On 29 August 1991 a group of CPSU hardliners attempted a coup d''état to remove then
General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social inter ...
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician, lawyer, and statesman. The List of leaders of the Soviet Union, eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the ...

Mikhail Gorbachev
after he curtailed Soviet presence in the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' ...
. Nearly three months following the coup attempt on November 6th the party was banned and the Soviet Union itself was dissolved on December 26. The CPSU was a
communist party A communist party is a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and part ...
based on
democratic centralism Democratic centralism is a practice in which political decisions reached by voting processes are binding upon all members of the political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's electi ...
. This principle, conceived by Lenin, entails democratic and open discussion of policy issues within the party, followed by the requirement of total unity in upholding the agreed policies. The highest body within the CPSU was the
Party Congress The terms party conference ( UK English), political convention ( US and Canadian English Canadian English (CanE, CE, en-CA) is the set of varieties of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language ...
, which convened every five years. When the Congress was not in session, the
Central Committee Central committee is the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to a board of directors, of both ruling and nonruling parties of former and existing Socialist State, socialist states. In such party org ...
was the highest body. Because the Central Committee met twice a year, most day-to-day duties and responsibilities were vested in the
Politburo A politburo () or political bureau is the executive committee for communist party, communist parties. It is present in most former and existing communist states. Names The term "politburo" in English comes from the Russian language, Russian ''Polit ...
, (previously the Presidium), the
Secretariat Secretariat may refer to: * Secretariat (administrative office) The secretariat of an organization is the department that fulfils its central administrative or general secretary duties. The term is especially associated with government ...
and the
Orgburo The Orgburo (russian: Оргбюро́), also known as the Organisational Bureau (russian: организационное бюро), of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Central Committee of the Communist Party o ...
(until 1952). The
party leader In a governmental system, a party leader acts as the official representative of their political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the me ...
was the
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrat ...
and held the office of either
General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social inter ...
,
Premier Premier is a title for the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other g ...
or
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
, or two of the three offices concurrently, but never all three at the same time. The party leader was the ''de facto'' chairman of the CPSU Politburo and chief executive of the Soviet Union. The tension between the party and the state (
Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union The Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ( rus, Совет министров СССР, r=Sovet Ministrov SSSR, p=sɐˈvʲet mʲɪˈnʲistrəf ɛsɛsɛˈsɛr; sometimes abbreviated to ''Sovmin'' or referred to as the '' ...
) for the shifting focus of power was never formally resolved. After the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922, Lenin had introduced a
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of go ...
, commonly referred to as the
New Economic Policy The New Economic Policy (NEP) () was an economic policy of the Soviet Union proposed by Vladimir Lenin in 1921 as a temporary expedient. Lenin characterized the NEP in 1922 as an economic system that would include "a free market and capitalism, ...
, which allowed for capitalist practices to resume under the Communist Party dictation in order to develop the necessary conditions for socialism to become a practical pursuit in the economically undeveloped country. In 1929, as
Joseph Stalin ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgians, Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952 ...
became the leader of the party,
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, 36–44. . "By 1985, one-third of the world's po ...
, a fusion of the original ideas of
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
philosopher and economic theorist
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
, and Lenin, became formalized as the party's guiding ideology and would remain so throughout the rest of its existence. The party pursued
state socialism State socialism is a Political ideology, political and economic ideology within the socialist movement advocating state ownership of the means of production, either as a temporary measure or as a characteristic of socialism in the transition from ...
, under which all industries were nationalized, and a
command economy A planned economy is a type of economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A ...
was implemented. After recovering from the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, reforms were implemented which decentralized economic planning and liberalized Soviet society in general under
Nikita Khrushchev Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (– 11 September 1971) served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and as Premier of the Soviet Unio ...
. By 1980, various factors, including the continuing
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
, and ongoing
nuclear arms race 300px, United States and Soviet Union/Russia">Soviet_Union.html" ;"title="United States and Soviet Union">United States and Soviet Union/Russia nuclear weapon stockpiles The nuclear arms race was an arms race competition for supremacy in nuclear ...
with the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and other
Western European Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...
powers and unaddressed inefficiencies in the economy, led to stagnant economic growth under
Alexei Kosygin Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin ( rus, Алексе́й Никола́евич Косы́гин, r=Aleksej Nikolajevič Kosygin, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsʲej nʲɪkɐˈla(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ kɐˈsɨɡʲɪn; – 18 December 1980) was a Soviet people, Soviet-Russians, ...
, and further with
Leonid Brezhnev Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (; rus, links= no, Леонид Ильич Брежнев, p= lʲɪɐˈnʲit ɨˈlʲjidʑ ˈbrʲeʐnʲɪf, a= Ru-Leonid Ilich Brezhnev.ogg; uk, links= no, Леонід Ілліч Брежнєв, 19 December 1906  ...
and growing disillusionment. After the younger, vigorous Mikhail Gorbachev assumed leadership in 1985 (following two short-term elderly leaders,
Yuri Andropov Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov (; rus, links=no, Юрий Владимирович Андропов, r=Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov, p=ˈjʉrʲɪj vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪtɕ ɐnˈdropəf;  – 9 February 1984) was the sixth list of leaders o ...
and
Konstantin Chernenko Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko ( ; rus, links=no, Константин Устинович Черненко, p=kənstɐnʲˈtʲin ʊsʲˈtʲinəvʲɪtɕ tɕɪrˈnʲenkə; 24 September 1911 – 10 March 1985) was a Soviet The Soviet Union, ...
, who quickly died in succession), rapid steps were taken to transform the tottering Soviet economic system in the direction of a
market economy A market economy is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The ide ...
once again. Gorbachev and his allies envisioned the introduction of an economy similar to Lenin's earlier New Economic Policy through a program of "
perestroika Perestroika (; russian: links=no, перестройка, p=pʲɪrʲɪˈstrojkə, a=ru-perestroika.ogg) was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ...
", or restructuring, but their reforms, along with the institution of free multi-candidate elections led to a decline in the party's power, and after the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, ...
, the banning of the party by later last RSFSR President
Boris Yeltsin Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin ( rus, links=no, Борис Николаевич Ельцин, a=ru-Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin.ogg, p=bɐˈrʲis nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪtɕ ˈjelʲtsɨn; 1 February 1931 – 23 April 2007) was a Russian and former Soviet ...

Boris Yeltsin
and subsequent first President of an evolving democratic and free-market economy of the successor
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
. A number of causes contributed to CPSU's loss of control and the dissolution of the Soviet Union during the early 1990s. Some historians have written that Gorbachev's policy of "
glasnost In the Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languag ...
" (political openness) was the root cause, noting that it weakened the party's control over society. Gorbachev maintained that ''perestroika'' without ''glasnost'' was doomed to failure anyway. Others have blamed the
economic stagnation Economic stagnation is a prolonged period of slow economic growth Economic growth can be defined as the increase in the inflation-adjusted market value of the goods and services produced by an economics, economy over time. Statisticians convent ...
and subsequent loss of faith by the general populace in communist ideology. In the final years of the CPSU's existence, the Communist Parties of the
federal subjects of Russia The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy Federatsii) or simply as the subjects of the federation (russian: ...
were united into the
Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Communism (from Latin la, communis, lit=common, universal, label=none)Ball, Terence, and Richard Dagger.
999999 or triple nine most often refers to: * 999 (emergency telephone number) 250px, A sign on a beach in the coastguard in the event of an emergency 999 is an official emergency telephone number in a number of countries which allows the caller to ...
2019.Communism (revised ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 10 June 2020. is a Political philosophy, philosophical, Social ...
(RSFSR). After the CPSU's demise, the Communist Parties of the Union Republics became independent and underwent various separate paths of reform. In Russia, the
Communist Party of the Russian Federation , anthem = "The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second ...
emerged and has been regarded as the inheritor of the CPSU's old
Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...

Bolshevik
legacy into the present day.


History


Name

* : Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) (russian: Российская социал-демократическая рабочая партия (большевиков); РСДРП(б), Rossiyskaya sotsial-demokraticheskaya rabochaya partiya (bol'shevikov); RSDSP(b)) * : Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (russian: Российская коммунистическая партия (большевиков); РКП(б), Rossiyskaya kommunisticheskaya partiya (bol'shevikov); RKP(b)) * : All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (russian: Всесоюзная коммунистическая партия (большевиков); ВКП(б), Vsesoyuznaya kommunisticheskaya partiya (bol'shevikov); VKP(b)) * : Communist Party of the Soviet Union (russian: Коммунистическая партия Советского Союза; КПСС), Kommunisticheskaya partiya Sovetskogo Soyuza; KPSS)


Early years (1898–1924)

The origin of the CPSU was in the
Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...
faction of the
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP; , ''Rossiyskaya sotsial-demokraticheskaya rabochaya partiya (RSDRP)''), also known as the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or the Russian Social Democratic Party, was a socialist ...
(RSDLP). This faction arose out of the split between followers of
Julius Martov Julius Martov or L. Martov (Ма́ртов; born Yuliy Osipovich Tsederbaum; 24 November 1873 – 4 April 1923) was a politician and revolutionary who became the leader of the Mensheviks in early 20th-century Russian Empire, Russia. He was argu ...
and
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government The head of government is e ...

Vladimir Lenin
in August 1903 at the Party's second conference. Martov's followers were called the Mensheviks (which means minority in Russian); and Lenin's, the Bolsheviks (majority). (The two factions were in fact of fairly equal numerical size.) The split became more formalized in 1914, when the factions became named the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks), and Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks). Prior to the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus, Февра́льская револю́ция, p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography Soviet historiography is the methodology of history History (from Greek , ' ...
, the first phase of the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Russian Revolution
s of 1917, the party worked underground as organized anti-Tsarist groups. By the time of the revolution, many of the party's central leaders, including Lenin, were in exile. With Emperor
Nicholas II Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov . ( 186817 July 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer, . was the last Emperor of All Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until Abdication of Nicholas II ...

Nicholas II
(1868–1918, reigned 1894–1917), deposed in February 1917, a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
was established and administered by a
provisional government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a S ...
, which was largely dominated by the interests of the military, former nobility, major capitalists business owners and democratic socialists. Alongside it, grassroots general assemblies spontaneously formed, called
soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
s, and a dual-power structure between the soviets and the provisional government was in place until such a time that their differences would be reconciled in a post-provisional government. Lenin was at this time in exile in
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
where he, with other dissidents in exile, managed to arrange with the Imperial German government safe passage through Germany in a
sealed train A sealed train is one that travels internationally under customs Customs is an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and cult ...
back to Russia through the continent amidst the ongoing
World War A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...

World War
. In April, Lenin arrived in
Petrograd Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...
(renamed former
St. Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

St. Petersburg
) and condemned the provisional government, calling for the advancement of the revolution towards the transformation of the ongoing war into a war of the working class against capitalism. The rebellion proved not yet to be over, as tensions between the social forces aligned with the soviets (councils) and those with the provisional government now led by
Alexander Kerensky Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky ( ; russian: link=no, Алекса́ндр Фёдорович Ке́ренский, ; original spelling: ; – 11 June 1970) was a Russian lawyer and revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either partici ...
(1881–1970, in power 1917), came into explosive tensions during that summer. The Bolsheviks had rapidly increased their political presence from May onward through the popularity of their program, notably calling for an immediate end to the war, land reform for the peasants, and restoring food allocation to the urban population. This program was translated to the masses through simple slogans that patiently explained their solution to each crisis the revolution created. Up to July, these policies were disseminated through 41 publications,
Pravda ''Pravda'' ( rus, Правда, p=ˈpravdə, a=Ru-правда.ogg, "Truth") is a Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the easter ...

Pravda
being the main paper, with a readership of 320,000. This was roughly halved after the repression of the Bolsheviks following the
July Days The July Days (russian: Июльские дни) were a period of unrest in Petrograd, Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List ...
demonstrations so that even by the end of August, the principal paper of the Bolsheviks had a print run of only 50,000 copies. Despite this, their ideas gained them increasing popularity in elections to the soviets. The factions within the soviets became increasingly polarized in the later summer after armed demonstrations by soldiers at the call of the Bolsheviks and an attempted military coup by commanding Gen.
Lavr Kornilov Lavr Georgiyevich Kornilov (russian: Лавр Гео́ргиевич Корни́лов, ; – 13 April 1918) was a Russian Empire, Russian military intelligence officer, explorer, and general in the Imperial Russian Army during World War I and t ...
to eliminate the socialists from the provisional government. As the general consensus within the soviets moved leftward, less militant forces began to abandon them, leaving the Bolsheviks in a stronger position. By October, the Bolsheviks were demanding the full transfer of power to the soviets and for total rejection of the Kerensky led provisional government's legitimacy. The provisional government, insistent on maintaining the universally despised war effort on the
Eastern FrontEastern Front may refer to: * Eastern Front (World War I) * Eastern Front (World War II) * Eastern Front (Turkey), of the Turkish War of Independence ** Turkish–Armenian War, often referred to by itself as the Eastern Front * Eastern Front (Sudan) ...
because of treaty ties with its
Allies An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
and fears of Imperial German victory, had become socially isolated and had no enthusiastic support on the streets. On 7 November (25 October, old style), the Bolsheviks led an armed insurrection, which overthrew the Kerensky provisional government and left the soviets as the sole governing force in Russia. In the aftermath of the
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October Revolution
, the soviets united federally and the
Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR or RSFSR; rus, links=no, Российская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика, Rossiyskaya Sovetskaya Federativnaya ...
, the world's first constitutionally socialist state, was established. The Bolsheviks were the majority within the soviets and began to fulfill their campaign promises by signing a damaging peace to end the war with the Germans in the
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (also known as the Peace of Brest in Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and depende ...
and transferring estates and imperial lands to workers' and peasants' soviets. In this context, in 1918, RSDLP(b) became All-Russian Communist Party (bolsheviks). Outside of Russia, social-democrats who supported the Soviet government began to identify as communists, while those who opposed it retained the social-democratic label. In 1921, as the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
was drawing to a close, Lenin proposed the
New Economic Policy The New Economic Policy (NEP) () was an economic policy of the Soviet Union proposed by Vladimir Lenin in 1921 as a temporary expedient. Lenin characterized the NEP in 1922 as an economic system that would include "a free market and capitalism, ...
(NEP), a system of state capitalism that started the process of industrialization and post-war recovery. The NEP ended a brief period of intense rationing called " war communism" and began a period of a market economy under Communist dictation. The Bolsheviks believed at this time that Russia, being among the most economically undeveloped and socially backward countries in Europe, had not yet reached the necessary conditions of development for socialism to become a practical pursuit and that this would have to wait for such conditions to arrive under capitalist development as had been achieved in more advanced countries such as England and Germany. On 30 December 1922, the Russian SFSR joined former territories of the Russian Empire to form the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a Political union, union of multiple national Republics of t ...
(USSR), of which Lenin was elected leader. On 9 March 1923, Lenin suffered a stroke, which incapacitated him and effectively ended his role in government. He died on 21 January 1924, only thirteen months after the founding of the Soviet Union, of which he would become regarded as the founding father.


Stalin era (1924–53)

After Lenin's death, a power struggle ensued between
Joseph Stalin ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgians, Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952 ...
, the party's
General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social inter ...
, and
Leon Trotsky Lev Davidovich Bronstein. ( – 21 August 1940), better known as Leon Trotsky; uk, link= no, Лев Давидович Троцький; also transliterated ''Lyev'', ''Trotski'', ''Trotskij'', ''Trockij'' and ''Trotzky''. (), was a Ukrainian ...

Leon Trotsky
, the
Minister of Defence A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
, each with highly contrasting visions for the future direction of the country. Trotsky sought to implement a policy of
permanent revolution Permanent revolution is the strategy of a ary pursuing its own interests independently and without compromise or alliance with opposing sections of society. As a term within , it was first coined by and as early as 1850, but since then it has ...
, which was predicated on the notion that the Soviet Union would not be able to survive in a socialist character when surrounded by hostile governments and therefore concluded that it was necessary to actively support similar revolutions in the more advanced capitalist countries. Stalin, however, argued that such a foreign policy would not be feasible with the capabilities then possessed by the Soviet Union and that it would invite the country's destruction by engaging in armed conflict. Rather, Stalin argued that the Soviet Union should, in the meantime, pursue peaceful coexistence and invite foreign investment in order to develop the country's economy and build
socialism in one country#REDIRECT Socialism in one country Socialism in one country ( rus, links=no, социали́зм в отде́льно взя́той стране́, r=sotsializm v otdelno vzyatoy strane, t=socialism in a single country) was a theory put forth by ...
. Ultimately, Stalin gained the greatest support within the party, and Trotsky, who was increasingly viewed as a collaborator with outside forces in an effort to depose Stalin, was isolated and subsequently expelled from the party and exiled from the country in 1928. Stalin's policies henceforth would later become collectively known as
Stalinism Stalinism is the means of governing and policies which were implemented in the Soviet Union from 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin. It included the creation of a one-party totalitarian police state; rapid industrialization; the theory of socialis ...
. In 1925, the name of the party was changed to the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks), reflecting that the republics outside of Russia proper were no longer part of an all-encompassing Russian state. The acronym was usually transliterated as VKP(b), or sometimes VCP(b). Stalin sought to formalize the party's ideological outlook into a philosophical hybrid of the original ideas of Lenin with
orthodox Marxism Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand Social class, class relations and s ...
into what would be called
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, 36–44. . "By 1985, one-third of the world's po ...
. Stalin's position as General Secretary became the top executive position within the party, giving Stalin significant authority over party and state policy. By the end of the 1920s, diplomatic relations with western countries were deteriorating to the point that there was a growing fear of another allied attack on the Soviet Union. Within the country, the conditions of the NEP had enabled growing inequalities between increasingly wealthy strata and the remaining poor. The combination of these tensions led the party leadership to conclude that it was necessary for the government's survival to pursue a new policy that would centralize economic activity and accelerate industrialization. To do this, the
first five-year plan The first five-year plan (russian: I пятилетний план, ) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a list of economic goals, created by Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Communist Party General Secretary of the Communis ...
was implemented in 1928. The plan doubled the industrial workforce, proletarianizing many of the peasants by removing them from their land and assembling them into urban centers. Peasants who remained in agricultural work were also made to have a similarly proletarian relationship to their labor through the policies of
collectivization Collective farming and communal farming are various types of "agricultural production in which multiple farmers run their holdings as a joint enterprise". There are two broad types of communal farms: Agricultural cooperative An agricultural coop ...
, which turned feudal-style farms into collective farms which would be in a cooperative nature under the direction of the state. These two shifts changed the base of Soviet society towards a more working-class alignment. The plan was fulfilled ahead of schedule in 1932. The success of industrialization in the Soviet Union led western countries, such as the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, to open diplomatic relations with the Soviet government. In 1933, after years of unsuccessful workers' revolutions (including a short-lived
Bavarian Soviet RepublicBavarian is the adjective form of the German state of Bavaria Bavaria (; german: Bayern, , officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no, ; bar, Freistoot Bayern, link=no), is a federal state A federation (also ...
) and spiraling economic calamity,
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
came to power in Germany, violently suppressing the revolutionary organizers and posing a direct threat to the Soviet Union that ideologically supported them. The threat of fascist sabotage and imminent attack greatly exacerbated the already existing tensions within the Soviet Union and the Communist Party. A wave of paranoia overtook Stalin and the party leadership and spread through Soviet society. Seeing potential enemies everywhere, leaders of the government security apparatuses began severe crackdowns known as the
Great Purge The Great Purge or the Great Terror (russian: Большой террор), also known as the Year of '37 (russian: 37-ой год, translit=Tridtsat sedmoi god, label=none) and the Yezhovshchina ('period of Nikolay Yezhov, Yezhov'), was Gene ...
. In total, hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom were posthumously recognized as innocent, were arrested and either sent to prison camps or executed. Also during this time, a campaign against religion was waged in which the
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хр ...

Russian Orthodox Church
, which had long been a political arm of tsarism before the revolution, was targeted for repression and organized religion was generally removed from public life and made into a completely private matter, with many churches, mosques and other shrines being repurposed or demolished. The Soviet Union was the first to warn of the impending danger of invasion from
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
to the international community. The western powers, however, remained committed to maintaining peace and avoiding another war breaking out, many considering the Soviet Union's warnings to be an unwanted provocation. After many unsuccessful attempts to create an anti-fascist alliance among the western countries, including trying to rally international support for the
Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly known as the Second Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, Segunda República Española), was the form of government in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on 14 April ...
in its struggle against a fascist military coup supported by Germany and Italy, in 1939 the Soviet Union signed a
non-aggression pact A non-aggression pact or neutrality pact is a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometime ...
with Germany which would be broken in June 1941 when the German military in the largest land invasion in history, beginning the
Great Patriotic War The Eastern Front of World War II was a Theater (warfare), theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers against the Soviet Union (USSR), Polish Armed Forces in the East, Poland and other Allies of World War II, Allies, which encompa ...
. The
Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism, headed by the Soviet Union. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "str ...
was dissolved in 1943 after it was concluded that such an organization had failed to prevent the rise of fascism and the global war necessary to defeat it. After the 1945
Allied An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
victory of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the Party held to a doctrine of establishing socialist governments in the post-war occupied territories that would be administered by Communists loyal to Stalin's administration. The party also sought to expand its sphere of influence beyond the occupied territories, using
proxy wars A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actorNon-state actors include organizations and individuals that are not affiliated with, directed by, or funded through the government. The interests, structure, and influence o ...
and
espionage Espionage or spying is the act of obtaining secret Secrecy is the practice of hiding information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both it ...

espionage
and providing training and funding to promote Communist elements abroad, leading to the establishment of the
Cominform The Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties (), commonly known as Cominform (), was the official central organization Centralisation or centralization (see American and British English spelling differences#iseize, spelling d ...
in 1947. In 1949, the
Communists Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
emerged victorious in the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
, causing an extreme shift in the global balance of forces and greatly escalating tensions between the Communists and the western powers, fueling the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
. In Europe,
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, under the leadership of
Josip Broz Tito Josip Broz ( sh-Cyrl, Јосип Броз, ; 7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980), commonly known as Tito (; sh-Cyrl, Тито, links=no, ), was a Yugoslav communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belon ...

Josip Broz Tito
, acquired the territory of
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (wher ...

Trieste
, causing conflict both with the western powers and with the Stalin administration who opposed such a provocative move. Furthermore, the Yugoslav Communists actively supported the Greek Communists during their
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
, further frustrating the Soviet government. These tensions led to a Tito–Stalin Split, which marked the beginning of international sectarian division within the world communist movement.


Post-Stalin years (1953–85)

After Stalin's death, Khrushchev rose to the top post by overcoming political adversaries, including
Lavrentiy Beria Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (; rus, Лавре́нтий Па́влович Бе́рия, p=ˈbʲerʲiə; ka, ლავრენტი ბერია, tr, ;  – 23 December 1953) was a Georgian Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (Russian la ...

Lavrentiy Beria
and
Georgy Malenkov Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov (– 14 January 1988) was a Soviet Union, Soviet politician who briefly succeeded Joseph Stalin as the List of leaders of the Soviet Union, leader of the Soviet Union. However, at the insistence of the rest of th ...
, in a power struggle. In 1955, Khrushchev achieved the demotion of Malenkov and secured his own position as Soviet leader. Early in his rule and with the support of several members of the Presidium, Khrushchev initiated the Thaw, which effectively ended the Stalinist mass terror of the prior decades and reduced socio-economic oppression considerably. At the 20th Congress held in 1956, Khrushchev denounced Stalin's crimes, being careful to omit any reference to complicity by any sitting Presidium members. His economic policies, while bringing about improvements, were not enough to fix the fundamental problems of the Soviet economy. The standard of living for ordinary citizens did increase; 108 million people moved into new housing between 1956 and 1965. Khrushchev's foreign policies led to the
Sino-Soviet split The Sino-Soviet split was the breaking of political relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), caused by Doctrine, doctrinal divergences that arose from their different interpretati ...
, in part a consequence of his public denunciation of Stalin. Khrushchev improved relations with
Josip Broz Tito Josip Broz ( sh-Cyrl, Јосип Броз, ; 7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980), commonly known as Tito (; sh-Cyrl, Тито, links=no, ), was a Yugoslav communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belon ...

Josip Broz Tito
's
League of Communists of Yugoslavia The League of Communists of Yugoslavia, sl, Zveza komunistov Jugoslavije mk, Сојуз на комунистите на Југославија, Sojuz na komunistite na Jugoslavija known until 1952 as the Communist Party of Yugoslavia,, sh-La ...
but failed to establish the close, party-to-party relations that he wanted. While the Thaw reduced political oppression at home, it led to unintended consequences abroad, such as the
Hungarian Revolution of 1956 The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (also the Hungarian Uprising, 23 October – 10 November 1956; hu, 1956-os forradalom), was a countrywide revolution against the Stalinist government of the (1949–1989) and the Hungarian domestic policies imp ...
and unrest in Poland, where the local citizenry now felt confident enough to rebel against Soviet control. Khrushchev also failed to improve Soviet relations with the West, partially because of a hawkish military stance. In the aftermath of the
Cuban Missile Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962 ( es, Crisis de Octubre), the Caribbean Crisis (), or the Missile Scare, was a 1-month, 4 day (16 October – 20 November 1962) confrontation between the United States and the ...
, Khrushchev's position within the party was substantially weakened. Shortly before his eventual ousting, he tried to introduce economic reforms championed by
Evsei Liberman Evsei Grigorievich Liberman (russian: Евсей Григорьевич Либерман, , uk, Овсій Григорович Ліберман; 2 October 1897, Slavuta, Russian empire – 11 November 1981, Kharkiv) was a Soviet Union, Soviet ec ...
, a Soviet economist, which tried to implement market mechanisms into the planned economy. Khrushchev was ousted on 14 October 1964 in a Central Committee plenum that officially cited his inability to listen to others, his failure in consulting with the members of the Presidium, his establishment of a cult of personality, his economic mismanagement, and his anti-party reforms as the reasons he was no longer fit to remain as head of the party. He was succeeded in office by
Leonid Brezhnev Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (; rus, links= no, Леонид Ильич Брежнев, p= lʲɪɐˈnʲit ɨˈlʲjidʑ ˈbrʲeʐnʲɪf, a= Ru-Leonid Ilich Brezhnev.ogg; uk, links= no, Леонід Ілліч Брежнєв, 19 December 1906  ...
as First Secretary and
Alexei Kosygin Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin ( rus, Алексе́й Никола́евич Косы́гин, r=Aleksej Nikolajevič Kosygin, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsʲej nʲɪkɐˈla(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ kɐˈsɨɡʲɪn; – 18 December 1980) was a Soviet people, Soviet-Russians, ...
as
Chairman The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting ...
of the
Council of MinistersThe Council of Ministers is a traditional name given to the supreme executive organ in some governments. The term is usually equivalent to the word " cabinet" ( Council of State is a similar term that also may refer to a Cabinet. However, the terms ...
. The Brezhnev era began with a rejection of
Khrushchevism Khrushchevism was a form of Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, ...
in virtually every arena except one: continued opposition to Stalinist methods of terror and political violence. Khrushchev's policies were criticized as voluntarism, and the Brezhnev period saw the rise of neo-Stalinism. While Stalin was never rehabilitated during this period, the most conservative journals in the country were allowed to highlight positive features of his rule. At the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 23rd Congress held in 1966, the names of the office of First Secretary and the body of the Presidium reverted to their original names: General Secretary and Politburo, respectively. At the start of his premiership, Kosygin experimented with economic reforms similar to those championed by Malenkov, including prioritizing light industry over heavy industry to increase the production of consumer goods. Similar reforms were introduced in Hungary under the name New Economic Mechanism; however, with the rise to power of Alexander Dubček in Czechoslovakia, who called for the establishment of "socialism with a human face", all non-conformist reform attempts in the Soviet Union were stopped. During his rule, Brezhnev supported ''détente'', a passive weakening of animosity with the West with the goal of improving political and economic relations. However, by the 25th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 25th Congress held in 1976, political, economic and social problems within the Soviet Union began to mount, and the Brezhnev administration found itself in an increasingly difficult position. The previous year, Brezhnev's health began to deteriorate. He became addicted to painkillers and needed to take increasingly more potent medications to attend official meetings. Because of the "trust in cadres" policy implemented by his administration, the CPSU leadership evolved into a gerontocracy. At the end of Brezhnev's rule, problems continued to amount; in 1979 he consented to the Soviet–Afghan War, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan to save the embattled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, communist regime there and supported the oppression of the Solidarity movement in Poland. As problems grew at home and abroad, Brezhnev was increasingly ineffective in responding to the growing criticism of the Soviet Union by Western leaders, most prominently by US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The CPSU, which had wishfully interpreted the 1973–75 recession, financial crisis of the 1970s as the beginning of the end of capitalism, found its country falling far behind the West in its economic development. Brezhnev died on 10 November 1982, and was succeeded by
Yuri Andropov Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov (; rus, links=no, Юрий Владимирович Андропов, r=Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov, p=ˈjʉrʲɪj vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪtɕ ɐnˈdropəf;  – 9 February 1984) was the sixth list of leaders o ...
on 12 November. Andropov, a staunch anti-Stalinist, chaired the KGB during most of Brezhnev's reign. He had appointed several reformers to leadership positions in the KGB, many of whom later became leading officials under Gorbachev. Andropov supported increased openness in the press, particularly regarding the challenges facing the Soviet Union. Andropov was in office briefly, but he appointed a number of reformers, including Yegor Ligachev, Nikolay Ryzhkov and
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician, lawyer, and statesman. The List of leaders of the Soviet Union, eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the ...

Mikhail Gorbachev
, to important positions. He also supported a crackdown on absenteeism and corruption. Andropov had intended to let Gorbachev succeed him in office, but
Konstantin Chernenko Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko ( ; rus, links=no, Константин Устинович Черненко, p=kənstɐnʲˈtʲin ʊsʲˈtʲinəvʲɪtɕ tɕɪrˈnʲenkə; 24 September 1911 – 10 March 1985) was a Soviet The Soviet Union, ...
and his supporters suppressed the paragraph in the letter which called for Gorbachev's elevation. Andropov died on 9 February 1984 and was succeeded by Chernenko. Throughout his short leadership, Chernenko was unable to consolidate power, and effective control of the party organization remained in Gorbachev's control. Chernenko died on 10 March 1985 and was succeeded in office by Gorbachev on 11 March 1985.


Gorbachev and the party's demise (1985–91)

The Politburo elected Gorbachev as CPSU General Secretary on 11 March 1985, one day after Chernenko's death. When Gorbachev acceded to power, the Soviet Union was stagnating but was stable and might have continued largely unchanged into the 21st century if not for Gorbachev's reforms. Gorbachev conducted a significant personnel reshuffling of the CPSU leadership, forcing old party conservatives out of office. In 1985 and early 1986 the new leadership of the party called for ''uskoreniye'' (russian: ускоре́ние , lit = acceleration). Gorbachev reinvigorated the party ideology, adding new concepts and updating older ones. Positive consequences of this included the allowance of freedom of thought, "pluralism of thought" and a call for the establishment of "socialist pluralism" (literally, socialist democracy). Gorbachev introduced a policy of ''
glasnost In the Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languag ...
'' ( ru , гла́сность, meaning ''openness'' or ''transparency'') in 1986, which led to a wave of unintended democratization. According to the British researcher of Russian affairs, Archie Brown, the democratization of the Soviet Union brought mixed blessings to Gorbachev; it helped him to weaken his conservative opponents within the party but brought out accumulated grievances which had been suppressed during the previous decades. In reaction to these changes, a conservative movement gained momentum in 1987 in response to
Boris Yeltsin Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin ( rus, links=no, Борис Николаевич Ельцин, a=ru-Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin.ogg, p=bɐˈrʲis nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪtɕ ˈjelʲtsɨn; 1 February 1931 – 23 April 2007) was a Russian and former Soviet ...

Boris Yeltsin
's dismissal as First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, CPSU Moscow City Committee. On 13 March 1988, Nina Andreyeva, a university lecturer, wrote an article titled "I Cannot Forsake My Principles". The publication was planned to occur when both Gorbachev and his protege Alexander Yakovlev (Russian politician), Alexander Yakovlev were visiting foreign countries. In their place, Yegor Ligachev led the party organization and told journalists that the article was "a benchmark for what we need in our ideology today". Upon Gorbachev's return, the article was discussed at length during a Politburo meeting; it was revealed that nearly half of its members were sympathetic to the letter and opposed further reforms which could weaken the party. The meeting lasted for two days, but on 5 April a Politburo resolution responded with a point-by-point rebuttal to Andreyeva's article. Gorbachev convened the 19th Conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 19th Party Conference in June 1988. He criticized leading party conservatives – Ligachev, Andrei Gromyko and Mikhail Solomentsev. In turn, conservative delegates attacked Gorbachev and the reformers. According to Brown, there had not been as much open discussion and dissent at a party meeting since the early 1920s. Despite the deep-seated opposition to further reform, the CPSU remained hierarchical; the conservatives acceded to Gorbachev's demands in deference to his position as the CPSU General Secretary. The 19th Conference approved the establishment of the Congress of People's Deputies (CPD) and allowed for contested elections between the CPSU and independent candidates. Other organized parties were not allowed. The CPD was 1989 Soviet Union legislative election, elected in 1989; one-third of the seats were appointed by the CPSU and other public organizations to sustain the Soviet one-party state. The elections were democratic, but most elected CPD members opposed any more radical reform. The elections featured the highest electoral turnout in Russian history; no election before or since had a higher participation rate. An organized opposition was established within the legislature under the name Inter-Regional Group of Deputies by dissident Andrei Sakharov. An unintended consequence of these reforms was the increased anti-CPSU pressure; in March 1990, at a session of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the party was forced to relinquish its political monopoly of power, in effect turning the Soviet Union into a liberal democracy. The CPSU's demise began in March 1990, when state bodies eclipsed party elements in power. From then until the Soviet Union's disestablishment, Gorbachev ruled the country through the newly created post of President of the Soviet Union. Following this, the central party apparatus didn't play a practical role in Soviet affairs. Gorbachev had become independent from the Politburo and faced few constraints from party leaders. In the summer of 1990 the party convened the 28th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 28th Congress. A new Politburo was elected, previous incumbents (except Gorbachev and Vladimir Ivashko, the CPSU Deputy General Secretary) were removed. Later that year, the party began work on a new program with a working title, "Towards a Humane, Democratic Socialism". According to Brown, the program reflected Gorbachev's journey from an orthodox communist to a European social democracy, social democrat. The freedoms of thought and organization which Gorbachev allowed led to a rise in nationalism in the Soviet republics, indirectly weakening the central authorities. In response to this, a 1991 Soviet Union referendum, referendum took place in 1991, in which most of the union republics voted to preserve the union in a Union of Sovereign States, different form. In reaction to this, conservative elements within the CPSU launched the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, August 1991 coup, which overthrew Gorbachev but failed to preserve the Soviet Union. When Gorbachev resumed control (21 August 1991) after the coup's collapse, he resigned from the CPSU on 24 August 1991 and operations were handed over to Ivashko. On 29 August 1991 the activity of the CPSU was suspended throughout the country, on 6 November Yeltsin banned the activities of the party in Russia and Gorbachev resigned from the presidency on 25 December; the following day the Soviet of Republics dissolved the Soviet Union. On November 30, 1992, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation recognized the ban on the activities of the primary organizations of the Communist Party, formed on a territorial basis, as inconsistent with the Russian Constitution of 1978, Constitution of Russia, but upheld the dissolution of the governing structures of the CPSU and the governing structures of its republican organization – the Communist Party of the RSFSR. After the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, ...
in 1991, Russian adherents to the CPSU tradition, particularly as it existed before Gorbachev, reorganized themselves within the
Communist Party of the Russian Federation , anthem = "The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second ...
(CPRF). Today a wide range of parties in Russia present themselves as successors of CPSU. Several of them have used the name "CPSU". However, the CPRF is generally seen (due to its massive size) as the heir of the CPSU in Russia. Additionally, the CPRF was initially founded as the Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Communist Party of the Russian SFSR in 1990 (sometime before the abolition of the CPSU) and was seen by critics as a "Russian-nationalist" counterpart to the CPSU.


Governing style

The style of governance in the party alternated between collective leadership and a cult of personality. Collective leadership split power between the
Politburo A politburo () or political bureau is the executive committee for communist party, communist parties. It is present in most former and existing communist states. Names The term "politburo" in English comes from the Russian language, Russian ''Polit ...
, the Central Committee, and the Council of Ministers to hinder any attempts to create a one-man dominance over the Soviet political system. By contrast, Stalin's period as the leader was characterized by Stalin's cult of personality, an extensive cult of personality. Regardless of leadership style, all political power in the Soviet Union was concentrated in the organization of the CPSU.


Democratic centralism

Democratic centralism is an organizational principle conceived by Lenin. According to Soviet pronouncements, democratic centralism was distinguished from "bureaucratic centralism", which referred to high-handed formulae without knowledge or discussion. In democratic centralism, decisions are taken after discussions, but once the general party line has been formed, discussion on the subject must cease. No member or organizational institution may dissent on a policy after it has been agreed upon by the party's governing body; to do so would lead to expulsion from the party (formalized at the 10th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 10th Congress). Because of this stance, Lenin initiated a Ban on factions in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, ban on factions, which was approved at the 10th Congress. Lenin believed that democratic centralism safeguarded both party unity and ideological correctness. He conceived of the system after the events of 1917 when several socialist parties "deformed" themselves and actively began supporting nationalist sentiments. Lenin intended that the devotion to policy required by centralism would protect the parties from such Revisionism (Marxism), revisionist ills and bourgeois deformation of socialism. Lenin supported the notion of a highly centralized vanguard party, in which ordinary party members elected the local party committee, the local party committee elected the regional committee, the regional committee elected the Central Committee, and the Central Committee elected the Politburo, Orgburo, and the Secretariat. Lenin believed that the party needed to be ruled from the center and have at its disposal power to mobilize party members at will. This system was later introduced in communist parties abroad through the
Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism, headed by the Soviet Union. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "str ...
(Comintern).


Vanguardism

A central tenet of Leninism was that of the vanguard party. In a capitalist society, the party was to represent the interests of the working class and all of those who were exploited by capitalism in general; however, it was not to become a part of that class. Lenin decided that the party's sole responsibility was to articulate and plan the long-term interests of the oppressed classes. It was not responsible for the daily grievances of those classes; that was the responsibility of the trade unions. According to Lenin, the Party and the oppressed classes could never become one because the Party was responsible for leading the oppressed classes to victory. The basic idea was that a small group of organized people could wield power disproportionate to their size with superior organizational skills. Despite this, until the end of his life, Lenin warned of the danger that the party could be taken over by bureaucrats, by a small clique, or by an individual. Toward the end of his life, he criticized the bureaucratic inertia of certain officials and admitted to problems with some of the party's control structures, which were to supervise organizational life.


Organization

* Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Armenia (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Azerbaijan (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Bukhara **Communist Party of Byelorussia (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Estonia (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Georgia (Central Committee) **Communist Party of the Karelia-Finland SSR (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Kazakhstan (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Kirgizia (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Khorezm * Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Latvia (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Lithuania (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Lithuania and Byelorussia (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Moldavia–Moldova (Central Committee) **Communist Party of the Russian SFSR (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Tajikistan (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Turkestan (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Turkmenistan (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Ukraine (Central Committee) **Communist Party of Uzbekistan (Central Committee)


Congress

The Congress, nominally the highest organ of the party, was convened every five years. Leading up to the October Revolution and until Stalin's consolidation of power, the Congress was the party's main decision-making body. However, after Stalin's ascension, the Congresses became largely symbolic. CPSU leaders used Congresses as a propaganda and control tool. The most noteworthy Congress since the 1930s was the 20th Congress, in which Khrushchev denounced Stalin in a speech titled "The Personality Cult and its Consequences". Despite delegates to Congresses losing their powers to criticize or remove party leadership, the Congresses functioned as a form of Mass communications, elite-mass communication. They were occasions for the party leadership to express the party line (politics), party line over the next five years to ordinary CPSU members and the general public. The information provided was general, ensuring that party leadership retained the ability to make specific policy changes as they saw fit. The Congresses also provided the party leadership with formal legitimacy by providing a mechanism for the election of new members and the retirement of old members who had lost favor. The elections at Congresses were all predetermined and the candidates who stood for seats to the Central Committee and the Central Auditing Commission of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Central Auditing Commission were approved beforehand by the Politburo and the Secretariat. A Congress could also provide a platform for the announcement of new ideological concepts. For instance, at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 22nd Congress, Khrushchev announced that the Soviet Union would see "Communism in 20 years, communism in twenty years" a position later retracted. A Conference, officially referred to as an All-Union Conference, was convened between Congresses by the Central Committee to discuss party policy and to make personnel changes within the Central Committee. 19 conferences were convened during the CPSU's existence. The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 19th Congress held in 1952 removed the clause in the party's statute which stipulated that a party Conference could be convened. The clause was reinstated at the 23rd Congress, which was held in 1966.


Central Committee

The Central Committee was a Collectivism, collective body elected at the annual Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, party congress. It was mandated to meet at least twice a year to act as the party's supreme governing body. Membership of the Central Committee increased from 71 full members in 1934 to 287 in 1976. Central Committee members were elected to the seats because of the offices they held, not on their personal merit. Because of this, the Central Committee was commonly considered an indicator for Sovietologists to study the strength of the different institutions. The Politburo was elected by and reported to the Central Committee. Besides the Politburo, the Central Committee also elected the
Secretariat Secretariat may refer to: * Secretariat (administrative office) The secretariat of an organization is the department that fulfils its central administrative or general secretary duties. The term is especially associated with government ...
and the
General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social inter ...
the ''de facto'' leader of the Soviet Union. In 1919–1952, the
Orgburo The Orgburo (russian: Оргбюро́), also known as the Organisational Bureau (russian: организационное бюро), of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Central Committee of the Communist Party o ...
was also elected in the same manner as the Politburo and the Secretariat by the plenums of the Central Committee. In between Central Committee plenums, the Politburo and the Secretariat were legally empowered to make decisions on its behalf. The Central Committee or the Politburo and/or Secretariat on its behalf could issue nationwide decisions; decisions on behalf of the party were transmitted from the top to the bottom. Under Lenin, the Central Committee functioned much as the Politburo did during the post-Stalin era, serving as the party's governing body. However, as the membership in the Central Committee increased, its role was eclipsed by the Politburo. Between Congresses, the Central Committee functioned as the Soviet leadership's source of legitimacy. The decline in the Central Committee's standing began in the 1920s; it was reduced to a compliant body of the Party leadership during the Great Purge. According to party rules, the Central Committee was to convene at least twice a year to discuss political mattersbut not matters relating to military policy. The body remained largely symbolic after Stalin's consolidation; leading party officials rarely attended meetings of the Central Committee.


Central Auditing Commission

The Central Auditing Commission (CAC) was elected by the party Congresses and reported only to the party Congress. It had about as many members as the Central Committee. It was responsible for supervising the expeditious and proper handling of affairs by the central bodies of the Party; it audited the accounts of the Treasury and the enterprises of the Central Committee. It was also responsible for supervising the Central Committee apparatus, making sure that its directives were implemented and that Central Committee directives complied with the party Statute.


Statute

The Statute (also referred to as the Rules, Charter and Constitution) was the party's by-laws and controlled life within the CPSU. The 1st Statute was adopted at the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Partythe forerunner of the CPSU. How the Statute was to be structured and organized led to a schism within the party, leading to the establishment of two competing factions; Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks), Bolsheviks (literally ''majority'') and Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks), Mensheviks (literally ''minority''). The 1st Statute was based upon Lenin's idea of a centralized vanguard party. The 4th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, 4th Congress, despite a majority of Menshevik delegates, added the concept of
democratic centralism Democratic centralism is a practice in which political decisions reached by voting processes are binding upon all members of the political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's electi ...
to Article 2 of the Statute. The 1st Statute lasted until 1919 when the 8th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 8th Congress adopted the 2nd Statute. It was nearly five times as long as the 1st Statute and contained 66 articles. It was amended at the 9th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 9th Congress. At the 11th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 11th Congress, the 3rd Statute was adopted with only minor amendments being made. New statutes were approved at the 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 17th and 18th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 18th Congresses respectively. The last party statute, which existed until the dissolution of the CPSU, was adopted at the 22nd Congress.


Central Committee apparatus


General Secretary

General Secretary of the Central Committee was the title given to the overall leader of the party. The office was synonymous with the leader of the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin's consolidation of power in the 1920s. Stalin used the office of General Secretary to create a strong power base for himself. The office was formally titled ''First Secretary'' between 1952 and 1966.


Politburo

The Political Bureau (Politburo), known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966, was the highest party organ when the Congress and the Central Committee were not in session. Until the 19th Conference in 1988, the Politburo alongside the Secretariat controlled appointments and dismissals nationwide. In the post-Stalin period, the Politburo controlled the Central Committee apparatus through two channels; the General Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, General Department distributed the Politburo's orders to the Central Committee departments and through the personnel overlap which existed within the Politburo and the Secretariat. This personnel overlap gave the CPSU General Secretary a way of strengthening his position within the Politburo through the Secretariat. Kirill Mazurov, Politburo member from 1965 to 1978, accused Brezhnev of turning the Politburo into a "second echelon" of power. He accomplished this by discussing policies before Politburo meetings with Mikhail Suslov, Andrei Kirilenko (politician), Andrei Kirilenko, Fyodor Kulakov and Dmitriy Ustinov among others, who held seats both in the Politburo and the Secretariat. Mazurov's claim was later verified by Nikolai Ryzhkov, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers under Gorbachev. Ryzhkov said that Politburo meetings lasted only 15 minutes because the people close to Brezhnev had already decided what was to be approved. The Politburo was abolished and replaced by a Presidium in 1952 at the 19th Congress. In the aftermath the 19th Congress and the 1st Plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 19th Central Committee, Stalin ordered the creation of the Bureau of the Presidium, which acted as the standing committee of the Presidium. On 6 March 1953, one day after Stalin's death, a new and smaller Presidium was elected, and the Bureau of the Presidium was abolished in a joint session with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers. Until 1990, the CPSU General Secretary acted as the informal chairman of the Politburo. During the first decades of the CPSU's existence, the Politburo was officially chaired by the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars; first by Lenin, then by Aleksey Rykov, Molotov, Stalin and Malenkov. After 1922, when Lenin was incapacitated, Lev Kamenev as Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars chaired the Politburo's meetings. This tradition lasted until Khrushchev's consolidation of power. In the first post-Stalin years, when Malenkov chaired Politburo meetings, Khrushchev as First Secretary signed all Central Committee documents into force. From 1954 until 1958, Khrushchev chaired the Politburo as First Secretary, but in 1958 he dismissed and succeeded Nikolai Bulganin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers. During this period, the informal position of Second Secretarylater formalized as Deputy General Secretarywas established. The Second Secretary became responsible for chairing the Secretariat in place of the General Secretary. When the General Secretary could not chair the meetings of the Politburo, the Second Secretary would take his place. This system survived until the dissolution of the CPSU in 1991. To be elected to the Politburo, a member had to serve in the Central Committee. The Central Committee elected the Politburo in the aftermath of a party Congress. Members of the Central Committee were given a predetermined list of candidates for the Politburo having only one candidate for each seat; for this reason, the election of the Politburo was usually passed unanimously. The greater the power held by the sitting CPSU General Secretary, the higher the chance that the Politburo membership would be approved.


Secretariat

The Secretariat headed the CPSU's central apparatus and was solely responsible for the development and implementation of party policies. It was legally empowered to take over the duties and functions of the Central Committee when it was not in the plenum (did not hold a meeting). Many members of the Secretariat concurrently held a seat in the Politburo. According to a Soviet textbook on party procedures, the Secretariat's role was that of "leadership of current work, chiefly in the realm of personnel selection and in the organization of the verification of fulfillment of party-state decisions". "Selections of personnel" (russian: podbor kadrov) in this instance meant the maintenance of general standards and the criteria for selecting various personnel. "Verification of fulfillment" (russian: proverka ispolneniia) of party and state decisions meant that the Secretariat instructed other bodies. The powers of the Secretariat were weakened under Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Central Committee Commissions took over the functions of the Secretariat in 1988. Yegor Ligachev, a Secretariat member, said that the changes completely destroyed the Secretariat's hold on power and made the body almost superfluous. Because of this, the Secretariat rarely met during the next two years. It was revitalized at the 28th Party Congress in 1990, and the Deputy General Secretary became the official head of the Secretariat.


Orgburo

The Organizational Bureau, or Orgburo, existed from 1919 to 1952 and was one of three leading bodies of the party when the Central Committee was not in session. It was responsible for "organizational questions, the recruitment, and allocation of personnel, the coordination of activities of the party, government and social organizations (e.g., trade unions and youth organizations), improvement to the party's structure, the distribution of information and reports within the party". The 19th Congress abolished the Orgburo and its duties and responsibilities were taken over by the Secretariat. At the beginning, the Orgburo held three meetings a week and reported to the Central Committee every second week. Lenin described the relation between the Politburo and the Orgburo as "the Orgburo allocates forces, while the Politburo decides policy". A decision of the Orgburo was implemented by the Secretariat. However, the Secretariat could make decisions in the Orgburo's name without consulting its members, but if one Orgburo member objected to a Secretariat resolution, the resolution would not be implemented. In the 1920s, if the Central Committee could not convene the Politburo and the Orgburo would hold a joint session in its place.


Control Commission

The Central Control Commission (CCC) functioned as the party's supreme court. The CCC was established at the 9th All-Russian Conference of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 9th All-Russian Conference in September 1920, but rules organizing its procedure were not enacted before the 10th Congress. The 10th Congress formally established the CCC on all party levels and stated that it could only be elected at a party congress or a party conference. The CCC and the CCs were formally independent but had to make decisions through the party committees at their level, which led them in practice to lose their administrative independence. At first, the primary responsibility of the CCs was to respond to party complaints, focusing mostly on party complaints of Political faction, factionalism and Bureaucracy, bureaucratism. At the 11th Congress, the brief of the CCs was expanded; it became responsible for overseeing party line (politics), party discipline. In a bid to further centralize the powers of the CCC, a Presidium of the CCC, which functioned in a similar manner to the Politburo in relation to the Central Committee, was established in 1923. At the 18th Congress, party rules regarding the CCC were changed; it was now elected by the Central Committee and was subordinate to the Central Committee. CCC members could not concurrently be members of the Central Committee. To create an organizational link between the CCC and other central-level organs, the 9th All-Russian Conference created the joint CC–CCC plenums. The CCC was a powerful organ; the 10th Congress allowed it to expel full and candidate Central Committee members and members of their subordinate organs if two-thirds of attendants at a CC–CCC plenum voted for such. At its first such session in 1921, Lenin tried to persuade the joint plenum to expel Alexander Shliapnikov from the party; instead of expelling him, Shliapnikov was given a severe reprimand.


Departments

The leader of a department was usually given the title "head" (russian: zaveduiuschchii). In practice, the Secretariat had a major say in the running of the departments; for example, five of eleven secretaries headed their own departments in 1978. Normally, specific secretaries were given supervising duties over one or more departments. Each department established its own cellscalled sectionswhich specialized in one or more fields. During the Gorbachev era, a variety of departments made up the Central Committee apparatus. The Party Building and Cadre Work Department assigned party personnel in the nomenklatura system. The State and Legal Department supervised the armed forces, KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the trade unions, and the Procuracy. Before 1989, the Central Committee had several departments, but some were abolished that year. Among these departments was the Economics Department that was responsible for the economy as a whole, one for machine building, one for the chemical industry, etc. The party abolished these departments to remove itself from the day-to-day management of the economy in favor of government bodies and a greater role for the market, as a part of the
perestroika Perestroika (; russian: links=no, перестройка, p=pʲɪrʲɪˈstrojkə, a=ru-perestroika.ogg) was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ...
process. In their place, Gorbachev called for the creations of commissions with the same responsibilities as departments, but giving more independence from the state apparatus. This change was approved at the 19th Conference, which was held in 1988. Six commissions were established by late 1988.


''Pravda''

''
Pravda ''Pravda'' ( rus, Правда, p=ˈpravdə, a=Ru-правда.ogg, "Truth") is a Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the easter ...

Pravda
'' (''The Truth'') was the leading newspaper in the Soviet Union. The Organizational Department of the Central Committee was the only organ empowered to dismiss ''Pravda'' editors. In 1905, ''Pravda'' began as a project by members of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party.
Leon Trotsky Lev Davidovich Bronstein. ( – 21 August 1940), better known as Leon Trotsky; uk, link= no, Лев Давидович Троцький; also transliterated ''Lyev'', ''Trotski'', ''Trotskij'', ''Trockij'' and ''Trotzky''. (), was a Ukrainian ...

Leon Trotsky
was approached about the possibility of running the new paper because of his previous work on Ukrainian newspaper ''Kyivan Thought''. The first issue of ''Pravda'' was published on 3 October 1908 in Lviv, Lvov, where it continued until the publication of the sixth issue in November 1909, when the operation was moved to Vienna, Austria-Hungary. During the Russian Civil War, sales of ''Pravda'' were curtailed by ''Izvestia'', the government run newspaper. At the time, the average reading figure for ''Pravda'' was 130,000. This Vienna-based newspaper published its last issue in 1912 and was succeeded the same year by a new newspaper dominated by the Bolsheviks, also called ''Pravda'', which was headquartered in
St. Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

St. Petersburg
. The paper's main goal was to promote Marxist–Leninist philosophy and expose the lies of the bourgeoisie. In 1975, the paper reached a circulation of 10.6 million. It is currently owned by the
Communist Party of the Russian Federation , anthem = "The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second ...
.


Higher Party School

The Higher Party School (HPS) was the organ responsible for teaching cadres in the Soviet Union. It was the successor of the Communist Academy, which was established in 1918. The HPS was established in 1939 as the Moscow Higher Party School and it offered its students a two-year training course for becoming a CPSU official. It was reorganized in 1956 to that it could offer more specialized ideological training. In 1956, the school in Moscow was opened for students from socialist countries outside the Soviet Union. The Moscow Higher Party School was the party school with the highest standing. The school itself had eleven faculties until a 1972 Central Committee resolution demanded a reorganization of the curriculum. The first regional HPS outside Moscow was established in 1946 and by the early 1950s there were 70 Higher Party Schools. During the reorganization drive of 1956, Khrushchev closed 13 of them and reclassified 29 as inter-republican and inter-oblast schools.


Lower-level organization


Republican and local organization

The lowest organ above the primary party organization (PPO) was the district level. Every two years, the local PPO would elect delegates to the district-level party conference, which was overseen by a secretary from a higher party level. The conference elected a Party Committee and First Secretary and re-declared the district's commitment to the CPSU's program. In between conferences, the "raion" party committeecommonly referred to as "raikom"was vested with ultimate authority. It convened at least six times a year to discuss party directives and to oversee the implementation of party policies in their respective districts, to oversee the implementation of party directives at the PPO-level, and to issue directives to PPOs. 75–80 percent of raikom members were full members, while the remaining 20–25 were non-voting, candidate members. Raikom members were commonly from the state sector, party sector, Komsomol or the trade unions. Day-to-day responsibility of the raikom was handed over to a Politburo, which usually composed of 12 members. The district-level First Secretary chaired the meetings of the local Politburo and the raikom, and was the direct link between the district and the higher party echelons. The First Secretary was responsible for the smooth running of operations. The raikom was headed by the local apparatthe local agitation department or industry department. A raikom usually had no more than 4 or 5 departments, each of which was responsible for overseeing the work of the state sector but would not interfere in their work. This system remained identical at all other levels of the CPSU hierarchy. The other levels were cities, oblasts (regions) and republics. The district-level elected delegates to a conference held at least held every three years to elect the party committee. The only difference between the oblast and the district level was that the oblast had its own Secretariat and had more departments at its disposal. The oblast's party committee in turn elected delegates to the republican-level Congress, which was held every five years. The Congress then elected the Central Committee of the republic, which in turn elected a First Secretary and a Politburo. Until 1990, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was the only republic that did not have its own republican branch, being instead represented by the CPSU Central Committee.


Primary party organizations

The primary party organization (PPO) was the lowest level in the CPSU hierarchy. PPOs were organized cells consisting of three or more members. A PPO could exist anywhere; for example, in a factory or a student dormitory. They functioned as the party's "eyes and ears" at the lowest level and were used to mobilize support for party policies. All CPSU members had to be a member of a local PPO. The size of a PPO varied from three people to several hundred, depending upon its setting. In a large enterprise, a PPO usually had several hundred members. In such cases, the PPO was divided into bureaus based upon production-units. Each PPO was led by an executive committee and an executive committee secretary. Each executive committee is responsible for the PPO executive committee and its secretary. In small PPOs, members met periodically to mainly discuss party policies, ideology, or practical matters. In such a case, the PPO secretary was responsible for collecting party dues, reporting to higher organs, and maintaining the party records. A secretary could be elected democratically through a secret ballot, but that was not often the case; in 1979, only 88 out of the over 400,000 PPOs were elected in this fashion. The remainder were chosen by a higher party organ and ratified by the general meetings of the PPO. The PPO general meeting was responsible for electing delegates to the party conference at either the district- or town-level, depending on where the PPO was located.


Membership

Membership of the party was not open. To become a party member, one had to be approved by various committees, and one's past was closely scrutinized. As generations grew up having known nothing before the Soviet Union, party membership became something one generally achieved after passing a series of stages. Children would join the Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union, Young Pioneers and, at the age of 14, might graduate to the Komsomol (Young Communist League). Ultimately, as an adult, if one had shown the proper adherence to party discipline – or had the right connections, one would become a member of the Communist Party itself. Membership of the party carried obligations as it expected Komsomol and CPSU members to pay dues and to carry out appropriate assignments and "social tasks" (общественная работа). In 1918, party membership was approximately 200,000. In the late 1920s under Stalin, the party engaged in an intensive recruitment campaign, the "Lenin Levy", resulting in new members referred to as the Lenin Enrolment, from both the working class and rural areas. This represented an attempt to "proletarianize" the party and an attempt by Stalin to strengthen his base by outnumbering the Old Bolsheviks and reducing their influence in the Party. In 1925, the party had 1,025,000 members in a Soviet population of 147 million. In 1927, membership had risen to 1,200,000. During the collectivization campaign and industrialization campaigns of the first five-year plan from 1929 to 1933, party membership grew rapidly to approximately 3.5 million members. However, party leaders suspected that the mass intake of new members had allowed "social-alien elements" to penetrate the party's ranks and document verifications of membership ensued in 1933 and 1935, removing supposedly unreliable members. Meanwhile, the party closed its ranks to new members from 1933 to November 1936. Even after the reopening of party recruiting, membership fell to 1.9 million by 1939. Nicholas DeWitt gives 2.307 million members in 1939, including candidate members, compared with 1.535 million in 1929 and 6.3 million in 1947. In 1986, the CPSU had over 19 million members,approximately 10% of the Soviet Union's adult population. Over 44% of party members were classified as industrial workers and 12% as collective farmers. The CPSU had party organizations in 14 of the Soviet Union's 15 republics. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic itself had no separate Communist Party until 1990 because the CPSU controlled affairs there directly.


Komsomol

The All-Union Leninist Communist Youth League, commonly referred to as Komsomol, was the party's youth wing. The Komsomol acted under the direction of the CPSU Central Committee. It was responsible for indoctrinating youths in communist ideology and organizing social events. It was closely modeled on the CPSU; nominally the highest body was the Congress of the Komsomol, Congress, followed by the Central Committee of the Komsomol, Central Committee, Secretariat of the Komsomol, Secretariat and the Politburo of the Komsomol, Politburo. The Komsomol participated in nationwide policy-making by appointing members to the collegiums of the Ministry of Culture (Soviet Union), Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education, the Ministry of Education (Soviet Union), Ministry of Education and the State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports. The organization's newspaper was the ''Komsomolskaya Pravda''. The First Secretary of the Komsomol, First Secretary and the Second Secretary were commonly members of the Central Committee but were never elected to the Politburo. However, at the republican level, several Komsomol first secretaries were appointed to the Politburo.


Ideology


Marxism–Leninism

Marxism–Leninism was the cornerstone of Soviet ideology. It explained and legitimized the CPSU's right to rule while explaining its role as a vanguard party. For instance, the ideology explained that the CPSU's policies, even if they were unpopular, were correct because the party was enlightened. It was represented as the only truth in Soviet society; the Party rejected the notion of multiple truths. Marxism–Leninism was used to justify CPSU rule and Soviet policy, but it was not used as a means to an end. The relationship between ideology and decision-making was at best ambivalent; most policy decisions were made in the light of the continued, permanent development of Marxism–Leninism. Marxism–Leninism as the only truth could notby its very naturebecome outdated. Despite having evolved over the years, Marxism–Leninism had several central tenets. The main tenet was the party's status as the sole ruling party. The 1977 Soviet Constitution, 1977 Constitution referred to the party as "The leading and guiding force of Soviet society, and the nucleus of its political system, of all state and public organizations, is the Communist Party of the Soviet Union". State socialism was essential and from Stalin until Gorbachev, official discourse considered that private social and economic activity retarding the development of collective consciousness and the economy. Gorbachev supported privatization to a degree but based his policies on Lenin's and Bukharin's opinions of the New Economic Policy of the 1920s, and supported complete state ownership over the commanding heights of the economy. Unlike liberalism, Marxism–Leninism stressed the role of the individual as a member of a collective rather than the importance of the individual. Individuals only had the right to freedom of expression if it safeguarded the interests of a collective. For instance, the 1977 Constitution stated that every person had the right to express his or her opinion, but the opinion could only be expressed if it was in accordance with the "general interests of Soviet society". The number of rights granted to an individual was decided by the state, and the state could remove these rights if it saw fit. Soviet Marxism–Leninism justified nationalism; the Soviet media portrayed every victory of the state as a victory for the History of communism, communist movement as a whole. Largely, Soviet nationalism was based upon ethnic Russian nationalism. Marxism–Leninism stressed the importance of the worldwide conflict between capitalism and socialism; the Soviet press wrote about progressive and reactionary forces while claiming that socialism was on the verge of victory and that the "correlations of forces" were in the Soviet Union's favor. The ideology professed state atheism; Party members were not allowed to be religious. Marxism–Leninism believed in the feasibility of a communist mode of production. All policies were justifiable if it contributed to the Soviet Union's achievement of that stage.


Leninism

In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organization of a revolutionary vanguard party and the achievement of a dictatorship of the proletariat as a political prelude to the establishment of the socialist mode of production developed by Lenin. Since
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
barely, if ever wrote about how the socialist mode of production would function, these tasks were left for Lenin to solve. Lenin's main contribution to Marxist thought is the concept of the vanguard party of the working class. He conceived the vanguard party as a highly knit, centralized organization that was led by intellectuals rather than by the working class itself. The CPSU was open only to a small number of workers because the workers in Russia still had not developed class consciousness and needed to be educated to reach such a state. Lenin believed that the vanguard party could initiate policies in the name of the working class even if the working class did not support them. The vanguard party would know what was best for the workers because the party functionaries had attained consciousness. Lenin, in light of the Marx's theory of the state (which views the state as an oppressive organ of the ruling class), had no qualms of forcing change upon the country. He viewed the dictatorship of the proletariat, rather than the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, to be the dictatorship of the majority. The repressive powers of the state were to be used to transform the country, and to strip of the former ruling class of their wealth. Lenin believed that the transition from the capitalist mode of production (Marxist theory), capitalist mode of production to the socialist mode of production would last for a long period. According to some authors, Leninism was by definition authoritarian. In contrast to Marx, who believed that the socialist revolution would comprise and be led by the working class alone, Lenin argued that a socialist revolution did not necessarily need to be led or to comprise the working class alone. Instead, he said that a revolution needed to be led by the oppressed classes of society, which in the case of Russia was the peasant class.


Stalinism

Stalinism, while not an ideology ''per se'', refers to Stalin's thoughts and policies. Stalin's introduction of the concept "Socialism in One Country" in 1924 was an important moment in Soviet ideological discourse. According to Stalin, the Soviet Union did not need a socialist world revolution to construct a socialist society. Four years later, Stalin initiated his "Second Revolution" with the introduction of state socialism and Planned economy, central planning. In the early 1930s, he initiated the
collectivization Collective farming and communal farming are various types of "agricultural production in which multiple farmers run their holdings as a joint enterprise". There are two broad types of communal farms: Agricultural cooperative An agricultural coop ...
of Agriculture in the Soviet Union, Soviet agriculture by de-privatizing agriculture and creating peasant cooperatives rather than making it the responsibility of the state. With the initiation of his "Second Revolution", Stalin launched the "Stalin's cult of personality, Cult of Lenin"a cult of personality centered upon himself. The name of the city of Petrograd was changed to Leningrad, the town of Lenin's birth was renamed Ulyanov (Lenin's birth-name), the Order of Lenin became the highest state award and portraits of Lenin were hung in public squares, workplaces and elsewhere. The increasing bureaucracy which followed the introduction of a state socialist economy was at complete odds with the Marxist notion of "the withering away of the state". Stalin explained the reasoning behind it at the 16th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 16th Congress held in 1930;
We stand for the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which represents the mightiest and most powerful authority of all forms of State that have ever existed. The highest development of the State power for the withering away of State power —this is the Marxian formula. Is this contradictory? Yes, it is contradictory. But this contradiction springs from life itself and reflects completely Marxist dialectic.
At the 1939 18th Congress, Stalin abandoned the idea that the state would wither away. In its place, he expressed confidence that the state would exist, even if the Soviet Union reached communism, as long as it was encircled by capitalism. Two key concepts were created in the latter half of his rule; the "two camps" theory and the "capitalist encirclement" theory. The threat of capitalism was used to strengthen Stalin's personal powers and Soviet propaganda began making a direct link with Stalin and stability in society, saying that the country would crumble without the leader. Stalin deviated greatly from classical Marxism on the subject of "subjective factors"; Stalin said that Party members of all ranks had to profess fanatic adherence to the Party's line and ideology, if not, those policies would fail.


Concepts


Dictatorship of the proletariat

Lenin, supporting Marx's theory of the state, believed democracy to be unattainable anywhere in the world before the proletariat seized power. According to Marxist theory, the state is a vehicle for oppression and is headed by a ruling class. He believed that by his time, the only viable solution was dictatorship since the war was heading into a final conflict between the "progressive forces of socialism and the degenerate forces of capitalism". The Russian Revolution of 1917, Russian Revolution was by 1917, already a failure according to its original aim, which was to act as an inspiration for a world revolution. The initial anti-statist posture and the active campaigning for direct democracy was replaced because of Russia's level of development withaccording to their own assessments dictatorship. The reasoning was Russia's lack of development, its status as the sole socialist state in the world, its encirclement by imperialist powers, and its internal encirclement by the peasantry. Marx and Lenin did not care if a bourgeois state was ruled in accordance with a republican, Parliamentary democracy, parliamentary or a Constitutional monarchy, constitutional monarchical system since this did not change the overall situation. These systems, even if they were ruled by a small clique or ruled through mass participation, were all dictatorships of the bourgeoisie who implemented policies in defense of capitalism. However, there was a difference; after revolutions of 1917–23, the failures of the world revolutions, Lenin argued that this did not necessarily have to change under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The reasoning came from practical considerations; the majority of the country's inhabitants were not communists, neither could the Party reintroduce parliamentary democracy because that was not in synchronization with its ideology and would lead to the Party losing power. He, therefore, concluded that the form of government has nothing to do with the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Bukharin and Trotsky agreed with Lenin; both said that the revolution had destroyed the old but had failed to create anything new. Lenin had now concluded that the dictatorship of the proletariat would not alter the relationship of power between men, but would rather "transform their productive relations so that, in the long run, the realm of necessity could be overcome and, with that, genuine social freedom realized". From 1920 to 1921, Soviet leaders and ideologists began differentiating between socialism and communism; hitherto the two terms had been used interchangeably and used to explain the same things. From then, the two terms had different meanings; Russia was in transition from capitalism to socialismreferred to interchangeably under Lenin as the dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism was the intermediate stage to communism and communism was considered the last stage of social development. By now, the party leaders believed that because of Russia's backward state, universal mass participation and true democracy could only take form in the last stage. In early Bolshevik discourse, the term "dictatorship of the proletariat" was of little significance, and the few times it was mentioned it was likened to the form of government which had existed in the Paris Commune. However, with the ensuing Russian Civil War and the social and material devastation that followed, its meaning altered from commune-type democracy to rule by iron-discipline. By now, Lenin had concluded that only a proletarian regime as oppressive as its opponents could survive in this world. The powers previously bestowed upon the Soviets were now given to the Council of People's Commissars, the central government, which was, in turn, to be governed by "an army of steeled revolutionary Communists [by Communists he referred to the Party]". In a letter to Gavril Myasnikov in late 1920, Lenin explained his new interpretation of the term "dictatorship of the proletariat":
Dictatorship means nothing more nor less than authority untrammeled by any laws, absolutely unrestricted by any rules whatever, and based directly on force. The term 'dictatorship' ''has no other meaning but this''.
Lenin justified these policies by claiming that all states were class states by nature and that these states were maintained through class struggle. This meant that the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union could only be "won and maintained by the use of violence against the bourgeoisie". The main problem with this analysis is that the Party came to view anyone opposing or holding alternate views of the party as bourgeois. Its worst enemy remained the moderates, which were considered to be "the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labor lieutenants of the capitalist class". The term "bourgeoisie" became synonymous with "opponent" and with people who disagreed with the Party in general. These oppressive measures led to another reinterpretation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism in general; it was now defined as a purely economic system. Slogans and theoretical works about democratic mass participation and collective decision-making were now replaced with texts which supported authoritarian management. Considering the situation, the Party believed it had to use the same powers as the bourgeoisie to transform Russia; there was no alternative. Lenin began arguing that the proletariat, like the bourgeoisie, did not have a single preference for a form of government and because of that, the dictatorship was acceptable to both the Party and the proletariat. In a meeting with Party officials, Lenin statedin line with his economist view of socialismthat "Industry is indispensable, democracy is not", further arguing that "we [the Party] do not promise any democracy or any freedom".


Anti-imperialism

The Marxist theory on imperialism was conceived by Lenin in his book, ''Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism'' (published in 1917). It was written in response to the theoretical crisis within Marxist thought, which occurred due to capitalism's recovery in the 19th century. According to Lenin, imperialism was a specific stage of development of capitalism; a stage he referred to as state monopoly capitalism. The Marxist movement was split on how to solve capitalism's resurgence after the great depression of the late 19th century. Eduard Bernstein from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) considered capitalism's revitalization as proof that it was evolving into a more humane system, adding that the basic aims of socialists were not to overthrow the state but to take power through elections. Karl Kautsky, also from the SDP, held a highly dogmatic view; he said that there was no crisis within Marxist theory. Both of them denied or belittled the role of class contradictions in society after the crisis. In contrast, Lenin believed that the resurgence was the beginning of a new phase of capitalism; this stage was created because of a strengthening of class contradiction, not because of its reduction. Lenin did not know when the imperialist stage of capitalism began; he said it would be foolish to look for a specific year, however, said it began at the beginning of the 20th century (at least in Europe). Lenin believed that the economic crisis of 1900 accelerated and intensified the concentration of industry and banking, which led to the transformation of the finance capital connection to industry into the monopoly of large banks. In ''Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism'', Lenin wrote; "the twentieth century marks the turning point from the old capitalism to the new, from the domination of capital in general to the domination of finance capital". Lenin defines imperialism as the monopoly stage of capitalism. The 1986 Party Program claimed the tsarist regime collapsed because the contradictions of imperialism, which he held to be the gap "between the social nature of production and the private capitalist form of appropriation" manifesting itself in wars, Recession, economic recessions, and exploitation of the working class, were strongest in Russia. Imperialism was held to have caused the Russo-Japanese War and the World War I, First World War, with the 1905 Russian Revolution presented as "the first people's revolution of the imperialist epoch" and the October Revolution is said to have been rooted in "the nationwide movement against imperialist war and for peace."


Peaceful coexistence

"Peaceful coexistence" was an ideological concept introduced under Khrushchev's rule. While the concept has been interpreted by fellow communists as proposing an end to the conflict between the systems of capitalism and socialism, Khrushchev saw it as a continuation of the conflict in every area except in the military field. The concept said that the two systems were developed "by way of diametrically opposed laws", which led to "opposite principles in foreign policy". Peaceful coexistence was steeped in Leninist and Stalinist thought. Lenin believed that international politics were dominated by class struggle; in the 1940s Stalin stressed the growing polarization which was occurring in the capitalist and socialist systems. Khrushchev's peaceful coexistence was based on practical changes which had occurred; he accused the old "two camp" theory of neglecting the non-aligned movement and the national liberation movements. Khrushchev considered these "grey areas", in which the conflict between capitalism and socialism would be fought. He still stressed that the main contradiction in international relations were those of capitalism and socialism. The Soviet Government under Khrushchev stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence, saying that it had to form the basis of Soviet foreign policy. Failure to do, they believed, would lead to nuclear conflict. Despite this, Soviet theorists still considered peaceful coexistence to be a continuation of the class struggle between the capitalist and socialist worlds, but not based on armed conflict. Khrushchev believed that the conflict, in its current phase, was mainly economic. The emphasis on peaceful coexistence did not mean that the Soviet Union accepted a static world with clear lines. It continued to uphold the creed that socialism was inevitable and they sincerely believed that the world had reached a stage in which the "correlations of forces" were moving towards socialism. With the establishment of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and Asia, Soviet foreign policy planners believed that capitalism had lost its dominance as an economic system.


Socialism in One Country

The concept of "Socialism in One Country" was conceived by Stalin in his struggle against Leon Trotsky and his concept of
permanent revolution Permanent revolution is the strategy of a ary pursuing its own interests independently and without compromise or alliance with opposing sections of society. As a term within , it was first coined by and as early as 1850, but since then it has ...
. In 1924, Trotsky published his pamphlet ''Lessons of October'', in which he stated that socialism in the Soviet Union would fail because of the backward state of economic development unless a world revolution began. Stalin responded to Trotsky's pamphlet with his article, "October and Comrade Trotsky's Theory of Permanent Revolution". In it, Stalin stated that he did not believe an inevitable conflict between the working class and the peasants would take place, and that "socialism in one country is completely possible and probable". Stalin held the view common among most Bolsheviks at the time; there was a possibility of real success for socialism in the Soviet Union despite the country's backwardness and international isolation. While Grigoriy Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and Nikolai Bukharintogether with Stalinopposed Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution, their views on the way socialism could be built diverged. According to Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev supported the resolution of the 14th Conference of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), 14th Conference held in 1925, which stated that "we cannot complete the building of socialism due to our technological backwardness". Despite this cynical attitude, Zinoviev and Kamenev believed that a defective form of socialism could be constructed. At the 14th Conference, Stalin reiterated his position that socialism in one country was feasible despite the capitalist blockade of the Soviet Union. After the conference, Stalin wrote "Concerning the Results of the XIV Conference of the RCP(b)", in which he stated that the peasantry would not turn against the socialist system because they had a self-interest in preserving it. Stalin said the contradictions which arose within the peasantry during the socialist transition could "be overcome by our own efforts". He concluded that the only viable threat to socialism in the Soviet Union was a military intervention. In late 1925, Stalin received a letter from a Party official which stated that his position of "Socialism in One Country" was in contradiction with Friedrich Engels' writings on the subject. Stalin countered that Engels' writings reflected "the era of pre-monopoly capitalism, the pre-imperialist era when there were not yet the conditions of an uneven, abrupt development of the capitalist countries". From 1925, Bukharin began writing extensively on the subject and in 1926, Stalin wrote ''On Questions of Leninism'', which contains his best-known writings on the subject. With the publishing of ''Leninism (book), Leninism'', Trotsky began countering Bukharin's and Stalin's arguments, writing that socialism in one country was only possible only in the short term, and said that without a world revolution it would be impossible to safeguard the Soviet Union from the "restoration of bourgeois relations". Zinoviev disagreed with Trotsky and Bukharin, and Stalin; he maintained Lenin's position from 1917 to 1922 and continued to say that only a defective form of socialism could be constructed in the Soviet Union without a world revolution. Bukharin began arguing for the creation of an autarkic economic model, while Trotsky said that the Soviet Union had to participate in the international division of labor to develop. In contrast to Trotsky and Bukharin, in 1938, Stalin said that a world revolution was impossible and that Engels was wrong on the matter. At the 18th Congress, Stalin took the theory to its inevitable conclusion, saying that the communist mode of production could be conceived in one country. He rationalized this by saying that the state could exist in a communist society as long as the Soviet Union was encircled by capitalism. However, with the establishment of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, Stalin said that socialism in one country was only possible in a large country like the Soviet Union and that to survive, the other states had to follow the Soviet line.


Reasons for demise


Western view

There were few, if any, who believed that the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse by 1985. The economy was stagnating, but stable enough for the Soviet Union to continue into the 21st century. The political situation was calm because of twenty years of systematic repression against any threat to the country and one-party rule, and the Soviet Union was in its peak of influence in world affairs. The immediate causes for the Soviet Union's dissolution were the policies and thoughts of Mikhail Gorbachev, the CPSU General Secretary. His policies of ''perestroika'' and ''glasnost'' tried to revitalize the Soviet economy and the social and political culture of the country. Throughout his rule, he put more emphasis on democratizing the Soviet Union because he believed it had lost its moral legitimacy to rule. These policies led to the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and indirectly destabilized Gorbachev's and the CPSU's control over the Soviet Union. Archie Brown said:
The expectations of, again most notably, Lithuanians, Estonians, and Latvians were enormously enhanced by what they saw happening in the 'outer empire' [Eastern Europe], and they began to believe that they could remove themselves from the 'inner empire'. In truth, a democratized Soviet Union was incompatible with denial of the Baltic states' independence for, to the extent that those Soviet republics became democratic, their opposition to remaining in a political entity whose center was Moscow would become increasingly evident. Yet, it was not preordained that the entire Soviet Union would break up.
However, Brown said that the system did not need to collapse or to do so in the way it did. The democratization from above weakened the Party's control over the country and put it on the defensive. Brown added that a different leader than Gorbachev would probably have oppressed the opposition and continued with economic reform. Nonetheless, Gorbachev accepted that the people sought a different road and consented to the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991. He said that because of its peaceful collapse, the fall of Soviet communism is "one of the great success stories of 20th-century politics". According to Lars T. Lih, the Soviet Union collapsed because people stopped believing in its ideology. He wrote:
When in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed not with a bang but a whimper, this unexpected outcome was partly the result of the previous disenchantments of the narrative of class leadership. The Soviet Union had always been based on the fervent belief in this narrative in its various permutations. When the binding power of the narrative dissolved, the Soviet Union itself dissolved.


According to the Communist Party of China

The first research into the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc were very simple and did not take into account several factors. However, these examinations became more advanced by the 1990s, and unlike most Western scholarship, which focuses on the role of Gorbachev and his reform efforts, the Communist Party of China (CPC) examined "core (political) life and death issues" so that it could learn from them and not make the same mistakes. Following the CPSU's demise and the Soviet Union's collapse, the CPC's analysis began examining systematic causes. Several leading CPC officials began hailing Khrushchev's rule, saying that he was the first reformer and that if he had continued after 1964, the Soviet Union would not have witnessed the Era of Stagnation began under Brezhnev and continued under Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko. The main economic failure was that the political leadership did not pursue any reforms to tackle the economic malaise that had taken hold, dismissing certain techniques as capitalist, and never disentangling the planned economy from socialism. Xu Zhixin from the CASS Institute of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, Institute of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, argued that Soviet planners laid too much emphasis on heavy industry, which led to shortages of consumer goods. Unlike his counterparts, Xu argued that the shortages of consumer goods were not an error but "was a consciously planned feature of the system". Other CPSU failures were pursuing the policy of state socialism, the high spending on the military-industrial complex, a low tax base, and the subsidizing of the economy. The CPC argued that when Gorbachev came to power and introduced his economic reforms, they were "too little, too late, and too fast". While most CPC researchers criticize the CPSU's economic policies, many have criticized what they see as "Soviet totalitarianism". They accuse Joseph Stalin of creating a system of mass terror, intimidation, annulling the democracy component of democratic centralism and emphasizing centralism, which led to the creation of an inner-party dictatorship. Other points were Russian nationalism, a lack of separation between the Party and state bureaucracies, suppression of non-Russian ethnicities, distortion of the economy through the introduction of over-centralization and the collectivization of agriculture. According to CPC researcher Xiao Guisen, Stalin's policies led to "stunted economic growth, tight surveillance of society, a lack of democracy in decision-making, an absence of the rule of law, the burden of bureaucracy, the CPSU's alienation from people's concerns, and an accumulation of ethnic tensions". Stalin's effect on ideology was also criticized; several researchers accused his policies of being "leftist", "dogmatist" and a deviation "from true
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, 36–44. . "By 1985, one-third of the world's po ...
." He is criticized for initiating the "bastardization of Leninism", of deviating from true democratic centralism by establishing a one-man rule and destroying all inner-party consultation, of misinterpreting Lenin's theory of imperialism and of supporting foreign revolutionary movements only when the Soviet Union could get something out of it. Yu Sui, a CPC theoretician, said that "the collapse of the Soviet Union and CPSU is a punishment for its past wrongs!" Similarly, Brezhnev, Mikhail Suslov, Alexei Kosygin and Konstantin Chernenko have been criticized for being "dogmatic, ossified, inflexible, [for having a] bureaucratic ideology and thinking", while Yuri Andropov is depicted by some of having the potential of becoming a new Khrushchev if he had not died early. While the CPC concur with Gorbachev's assessment that the CPSU needed internal reform, they do not agree on how it was implemented, criticizing his idea of "humanistic and democratic socialism", of negating the leading role of the CPSU, of negating Marxism, of negating the analysis of class contradictions and class struggle, and of negating the "ultimate socialist goal of realizing communism". Unlike the other Soviet leaders, Gorbachev is criticized for pursuing the wrong reformist policies and for being too flexible and too rightist. The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China, CPC Organization Department said, "What Gorbachev in fact did was not to transform the CPSU by correct principles—indeed the Soviet Communist Party ''needed transformation''—but instead he, step-by-step, and ultimately, eroded the ruling party's dominance in ideological, political and organizational aspects". The CPSU was also criticized for not taking enough care in building the primary party organization and not having inner-party democracy. Others, more radically, concur with Milovan Đilas assessment, saying that a new class was established within the central party leadership of the CPSU and that a "corrupt and privileged class" had developed because of the nomenklatura system. Others criticized the special privileges bestowed on the CPSU elite, the nomenklatura systemwhich some said had decayed continuously since Stalin's ruleand the relationship between the Soviet military and the CPSU. Unlike in China, the Soviet military was a state institution whereas in China it is a Party (and state) institution. The CPC criticizes the CPSU of pursuing Soviet imperialism in its foreign policies.


Electoral history


Presidential election


Supreme Soviet elections


See also

*
Communist Party of the Russian Federation , anthem = "The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second ...


Communist parties within the Warsaw Pact

*Bulgarian Communist Party *Communist Party of Czechoslovakia *Socialist Unity Party of Germany *Hungarian Working People's Party *Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party *Polish United Workers' Party *Romanian Communist Party


Other ruling communist parties

*People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan *Party of Labour of Albania *People's Revolutionary Party of Benin *Communist Party of Kampuchea *Communist Party of China *Communist Party of Cuba *Workers' Party of Ethiopia *New Jewel Movement *Workers' Party of Korea *Lao People's Revolutionary Party *Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party *Communist Party of Vietnam *
League of Communists of Yugoslavia The League of Communists of Yugoslavia, sl, Zveza komunistov Jugoslavije mk, Сојуз на комунистите на Југославија, Sojuz na komunistite na Jugoslavija known until 1952 as the Communist Party of Yugoslavia,, sh-La ...


Footnotes


Notes


Citations


Bibliography


Articles and journal entries

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Books

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External links


Executive Bodies of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1917–1991)


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